Johnnie Germaine and the Eskimo Toe Scratcher
By George H. Cornell

Here is a little story about an Eskimo Toe Scratcher.
Dini Diaz and I were on watch, the 4 to 8. I found a piece of dowel on the lathe.
I turned on the grinder and started making notches all around the doweL The grind
stone will burn the wood. I ground each end. It looked like something, so I said to
Diaz, I'll bet I can sell this thing. He scoffed at the idea. "What is it?" I thought for
a while and finally decided it I'd call it an Eskimo Toe Scratcher. Huh? Yeah, I tied
a string on it and tasseled it. It looked almost believable. I bet Diaz 50 cents I could
sell it. "That's a bet," he said,

Well, for the next two weeks I tried my best to sell the thing with no luck. I put it
under my fart sack. I was changing my fart sack one day. I had the top rack just inside
the black gang's space. There, while I'm changing my fart sack, stands Germaine.
"What's that?" grabbing the Toe Scratcher. I said, "That's an Eskimo Toe Scratcher,
you wanna buy it?" How could I have missed him, I wondered.

"Yaa, that's pretty nice. How much you want for it? And where did you get it?" "Oh,
I got it over at Ships Service. I'll sell it to you for 50 cents." "OK, I'll give you 50
cents for it." I take his 50cents. He runs it between his fingers as if it were his toes.

"OK, come on with me, we need to go below and see Diaz." We find Diaz in the
machine shop. "See I told you, you can sell anything. Germaine has the Eskimo Toe
Scratcher, I have his 50 cents and I win the bet."

The terrible thing that happened is that many of the crew in the chow line kept trying
to sell Johnnie all kinds of shoring plugs and wedges and timbers. The Exec put out
an order to knock it off. The kidding just went a little to far. I gave back the 50 cents
to John. I had done what I had wanted to do.

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Copyright © 2003, Tom Wilbeck